Today’s kids are scheduled to the max, often having insufficient down-time to just sit and daydream. However, the advantage of having a diversity of early experiences means that they are getting exposure to skills and concepts that will feel familiar to them in future, similar experiences. This exposure will help them to have a broader comfort zone later in life.
I’m so grateful for the experiences I had as a child, even though our generation relied more on playing outside and unstructured time in general. The experiences we did have generally revolved around my parents’ own interests and comfort zones. Where they had self-limiting beliefs probably resulted in less participation and exposure to us kids in those areas. As a result, we probably unconsciously mimic their familiarity, comfort and self-limiting beliefs. In this manner, I think we pass self-limiting beliefs down through the generations.
For me, 2016 is the year of dismantling self-limiting beliefs. My current effort is in singing. I have no aspirations to perform or do anything specific other than to prove to myself that I can, indeed, carry a tune without the aid of heavy machinery or technology. When I told my dad about my project, he laughed and said, “none of us can sing.” I was a bit surprised to hear him say that given mom had once sang in a chorus, but that probably explains where my belief originated.
I can assure you that I’m no Pavarotti, but after only a few lessons I have developed enough confidence (or indifference) to sing around the house within earshot of my sweet husband. And, I’ll have you know, that I even sang for myself by recording and playing back a verse on my iPhone. This represents a real achievement on my part; in graduate school we were videotaped while giving a presentation and I was too chicken to ever watch it. Decades later, I still have not ever watched myself giving a presentation, despite feeling pretty confident in my presentation abilities.
Also, as I observe my progress on my self-limiting beliefs, starting with running, singing and next with acting, I feel that branching out has been getting easier each time. It didn’t hurt that my first singing lesson only involved my teacher, but we quickly added my BFF and now we’re working on singing a duet. The acting class may have a larger audience at the start, but that’s OK. My general comfort zone is already wider and I’m less concerned about other peoples’ opinions than I once was. Besides, the definition of courage is doing what you’re afraid of, not necessarily what is dangerous or bad for you (or other people, in my case). And I decided long ago that I don’t ever want to make decisions around or limit myself because of fear. So fear, fear go away. Don’t ever come another day.